Westminster Kingsway College alumnus Jack Rawlings was just 16 when he enrolled at the college in 2006. Studying for three years in our renowned Victoria Centre, he now works in an exclusive fine-dining restaurant in the London headquarters of Coutts, the leading private bank. Jack sat down with us recently, to reflect on his time at college and the world of cooking for a living.

Growing up in North London, Jack heard about Westminster Kingsway College and its culinary school through his dad: “My dad is a chef and my mum was a hotel manager, so I have always been around the hospitality and culinary world. Dad said to me: ‘If you want to do it, do it properly’ and of course everyone knows about WestKing and its culinary school.”

“When I first joined WestKing I was not only a different chef but a different person. I took part in work experience across all three years of my course which really helped me.

“College wasn’t just about Monday to Friday. It gave me experience in the industry to make me a better chef. In my first year, I went to a contract catering unit in Moorgate. In my second year, I went to Claridges and in my third, I went to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Mayfair.”

Westminster Kingsway College works with a large number of industry professionals, which allows the college to tailor work experience to the career ambitions and natural talents of each student. Work experience is often discussed between staff and students, making it less ‘take what you are given’ and more an opportunity to get involved and play an active role in carving out your path.

Jack went on to talk about his time at the college and the extra-curricular activities he participated in: “I took part in a lot of competitions while at college and one tutor in particular, Vince Cotton, was my mentor for these events. To have someone there for me during quite a stressful time, someone who was so experienced not only as a chef but also as a competitor was amazing to have.

“I travelled around the country and was even lucky enough to go to the USA after winning the Escoffier competition [a competition in which the top five third-year students design menus and then compete against each other in a week-long finale] and visiting the Institute of Culinary Arts for a week in North Carolina. To experience this while at college was great and isn’t something you get everywhere.”

Just two months after completing his course at Westminster Kingsway College, Jack started a full-time job at Coutts Bank. Founded in 1692, Coutts is one of the oldest banks in the world and looks after some of the most prestigious clients in the UK. Jack got a one-day trial at the bank’s restaurant while working at the college and, nine years later, is still a permanent member of staff.

Jack said: “When I first started at Coutts I was on the stove cooking meat and fish within my first two weeks. This is a massive role in the kitchen and it made me feel great that the head chef had faith in me to do it. I was thrown in at the deep end, but this helped me progress into the position I am in the business now.

“In my nine years here I have learnt so much and progressed through six job roles. I started as a commis chef, then went up to demi chef de partie, chef de partie, junior sous chef, sous chef and now senior sous chef. I now have a great relationship with all of the chefs and this is because we have all been there so long. This is quite unusual for any Michelin-starred restaurant and the culinary industry in general. I think this is because of the sociable hours, Monday to Friday, so I get my weekends. We do evening work but you get paid overtime for that. Normally, if you want this work/life balance in the industry you either have to compromise on pay or quality of food. Here at Coutts, you don’t.”

“I am very happy with my job. I have always said if I am learning then I will be happy and I am still learning every day.”

Jack’s culinary excellence has been allowed to blossom on stages beyond the Coutts restaurant floor. In 2013 he took part in Professional Master Chef. Jack said “One of the highlights of my journey so far, I would have to say, would be taking part in Professional Master Chef after my head chef asked me to apply. After passing the phone interview and the face to face interview I made it onto the show and to date, I am the youngest chef to ever make it to the quarter-finals. It was a good experience and I learnt so much. I just wish I had waited till now in my career to go on the show as I have learnt so much since and think I could go even further.”

The relationship between Westminster Kingsway College and Coutts extends much further than Jack; in fact, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, of the Coutts family, funded the building of the college’s Victoria Centre and the restaurant is also home to many other WestKing alumni.

“I am not the only one from Westminster Kingsway College here at Coutts. At one point we had seven people from the same year in the Coutts kitchen, we still get international students coming from WestKing and we also have regular students from the same diploma course that I studied.

“My executive chef has always had college students in his kitchen on work experience and many of them come from Westminster Kingsway College due to the standard of chefs they produce. There is still one chef at Coutts who was in my year at college, our head pastry chef was one year below me at college, one of the junior sous chefs did the part-time course at WestKing – you really see a difference. We even have lecturers from WestKing coming in during their students’ rotations in the kitchen. They get to sit down with the student and us, and have a chat about how the student is doing.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 2 hours 9 minutes ago

Is this the most technologically advanced...

Graduates Honoured with Holographic Commencement Speakers in #VR & In-person, Outdoor Celebration with Zoom attendees on video wall.Thunderbird...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 3 hours 7 minutes ago

Announcing vGHC EMEA

Join us for our first-ever Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration (vGHC) in the European, Middle Eastern, and African (EMEA) region, which will be our...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 3 hours 12 minutes ago

vGHC Closing

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page